Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “A Valentine,” (Text-03d) Sartain's Union Magazine, March 1849, 4:173


[page 173, full page:]





TO —— —— ——

[column 1:]

For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,

Brightly expressive as the twins of Lœda,

Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies

Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.

Search narrowly the lines! — they hold a treasure

Divine — a talisman — an amulet

That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure —

The words — the syllables! Do not forget

The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!

And yet there is in this no Gordian knot [column 2:]

Which one might not undo without a sabre,

If one could merely comprehend the plot.

Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering

Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus

Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing

Of poets, by poets — as the name is a poet's, too.

Its letters, although naturally lying

Like the knight Pinto — Mendez Ferdinando —

Still form a synonym for Truth. — Cease trying!

You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.




This valentine was written for Frances Sargent Osgood. Mrs. Osgood's full name is spelled with one letter on each line, the first letter of the first line (“F”), the second letter of the second line (“r”), the third letter of the third line (“a”), etc. In the original version, Poe accidentally mispelled her middle name as “Sergeant,” here corrected. In the editorials section of this issue of the magazine appears this brief note: “The Valentine by EDGAR A. POE, will, we venture to predict, make as many guessers as readers of his most provoking riddle” (p. 222).

In the original printing, the date actually appears at the bottom of column 1, or more accurately to the left side of the full page at the bottom of the poem.


[S:1 - SUM, 1849] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - A Valentine (Text-03d)